Zimmer Trilogy Hip Lawsuit Will Proceed in Federal Court
Zimmer Holdings Inc. will still face trial on charges of negligence and liability, after a federal judge denied their application for a summary judgement. On February 14 2013, Judge William Hart of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois asserted the testimonies of the plaintiff’s physicians were sufficient to create ‘issues of fact’ that could be tried in court, and that no other evidence was required to begin proceedings.
The case relates to Zimmer’s Trilogy hip implant, which is alleged to be defective in design and manufacture. Initially filed by an Illinois resident who later died of unrelated health problems, the lawsuit is being continued by the executor of her estate, who alleges the manufacturer and defendant failed to adequately warn consumers about the implant. A Zimmer hip lawyer working on behalf of the executor also claimed the company failed to conduct sufficient clinical trials before marketing the product. The Zimmer Trilogy hip lawsuit maintains the implant is ‘unreasonably dangerous‘ because it restricts movement and is prone to premature failure.
Doctors’ evidence sufficient for trial
Zimmer attempted to avoid a full trial by arguing that the executor failed to provide testimonies from expert witnesses to support the allegations. The judge refuted these claims, citing evidence given by two orthopedic surgeons, one who performed the original implant, and another who removed it in 2008 following failure of the device. The removal procedure was the deceased’s third revision surgery.
An orthopedic surgeon testified on behalf of Zimmer, claiming the deceased had other risk factors that contributed to the failure of the Trilogy implant, including obesity and inflammatory arthritis. A biomechanical engineer also gave evidence, claiming the implant was not defective.
In denying summary judgement and proceeding with a Zimmer Trilogy hip lawsuit, the judge cited precedents where testimony from attending physicians was deemed enough evidence to create a ‘fact issue’, despite being countered by the defendants.
Zimmer hip replacement problems cited
The Zimmer Trilogy hip lawsuit in Chicago is not the first time questions have been raised about the safety of the company’s medical products. In 2008, an orthopedic surgeon working as a consultant for Zimmer, Dr. Larry Dorr, M.D., alerted the manufacturer to the abnormally high failure rate of their Durom Cup implant by sending a letter to the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeons outlining ten cases where patients required corrective revision surgery and another four were waiting for surgery. Zimmer temporarily halted sales of the Durom Cup on July 22, 2008, but still maintain the device is safe and effective if implanted properly.
Zimmer acknowledges technical challenges of surgery
During the Durom Cup controversy, Zimmer acknowledged the difficulties inherent in implanting their metal-on-metal devices, stating “surgical technique instructions and training are necessary in the United States, and we strongly recommend that U.S. surgeons stop implanting the Durom Cup until receiving such training.”
They have advised patients and physicians to weigh the benefits of their implants against the surgical skill required to perform the operation.